KARACHI: Lahore Qalandars captain Brendon McCullum is looking forward to an ‘exciting’ match against Quetta Gladiators when the two sides face off during the second day of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
McCullum, who replaced Azhar Ali as the skipper of the Lahore outfit for the second edition of the T20 league, praised the young talent at his disposal and said his side will have to be at their best if they are to tame a ‘well-balanced’ Gladiators side.
“I am really impressed by the young players in my team. They have a lot of potential and after some practice sessions with them I can safely say that the Qalandars will give the Gladiators a tough time. They are a well-balanced side and will be exciting to play against. We will have to be at our best against them,” he said.
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Meanwhile, Qalandars team manager Sameen Rana said the team’s practice sessions were primarily focused around chasing targets, with special emphasis on handling the middle overs. “Batsmen were given advice on how to chase a target while the bowlers practised defending the score,” he said.
McCullum will have compatriots James Franklin and Grant Elliot with him, while other foreign players for the Lahore outfit include England’s Jason Roy, South Africa’s Cameron Delport, West Indies’ Sunil Narine and Australia’s Chris Green.
The Gladiators, meanwhile, can count on the services of controversial English batsman Kevin Pietersen and will be led by Sarfraz Ahmed, who on Thursday was announced as Pakistan’s ODI captain.
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And franchise owner Nadeem Omar is confident his side will lift the PSL trophy this time. “We suffered some ups and downs as some players who were with us in the previous edition were unable to join us this time around,” said Omar. “But the best thing is that our core team is intact and I am very confident that this time we’ll lift the PSL trophy in Lahore.”
He further added that his side are ready to take on the Qalandars, “It is about performing on a given day; if you are able to do so, then you’ll be on top. I am confident that the Gladiators will be able to deliver what everyone is expecting from them against Lahore.”
Meanwhile, Karachi Kings, now led by legendary Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara, are looking forward to a better showing than the previous edition when they face Peshawar Zalmi.
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The Karachi outfit finished fourth in last year’s PSL but Sangakkara’s compatriot and fellow legend Mahela Jayawardene is confident that the additions in this year’s line-up have made the side more balanced.
“After some inclusions, the team looks more balanced and we are confident that we will perform better this time,” said Jayawardene before adding that players such as Mohammad Amir, Chris Gayle and Shoaib Malik will make things exciting.
“Karachi Kings has world-class players and I am also impressed with the local players. We will take it game by game and build the momentum,” he said.
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